The Greenhouse

By peterm, 7 May, 2018

At some point in our home remodeling project, we were about to lose our concrete guy due to weather. It was a El Nino year, so of course we were grading and pouring during the winter! 

So we got a thought. Instead of losing our concrete guys, maybe we should expand our scope. So we had them grade what was already a pretty flat and unused section of side yard and pour a 20x20 pad. We figured at some point we'd install a greenhouse.

We shopped on line, looked at Houzz posts, and any imagery we could find. Lynda finally found a kit constructed of redwood and glass made by Santa Barbara Greenhouses,

We received our kit and did some prep work (staining the wood) prior to having our contractor assemble the kit in August 2017. By September we were starting to get setup with seed starters for our winter experiments. 


Power and Water

We did have power pulled to the greenhouse. We also plumbed the water harvesting system and have some drip irrigation setup (although we are still hand watering).



One of the accessories we purchased was a heater. So, In order to automate the heater, I swapped out a Zwave receptacle and added a Zooz 3 way sensor. This sensor measures ligh (lux), relative humidity, temperature. Using SmartThings I set the power to the heater to fire on when the temp dropped below 55 and turn off at 60 degrees. The siting of the greenhouse places it adjacent to some redwoods so we do have shade in this location till about 10am and we get full sun for most of the rest of the day.

I also added some WebCORE functionality to SmartThings to be able to record the data to a Google sheet. I thought this would help us understand what environmental issues we would have to deal with in terms of lighting and heating. 

We'll be finishing the wiring up for the exhaust fan. We'll be connecting this to the automated power and creating some logic that fires it up as the temperature rises.

The roof panels are controlled by analog hinges that open as the internal temperature rises. There are also venting panels in the bottom of the greenhouse, but these are opened and closed with rope.

What's Growing

We've tried a few things. Not all our experiments have worked out; mostly due to winter and lack of light. Below are some tomatoe starts in late winter 2018. Note the condensation. I think we had too wet of enviornment for a long time becase it wasn't long befor we had what I think were white flies or some other pest that attacked the lettuce and radishes. Getting drier conditions and Neem Oil seemed to help a lot as well.